Violence against Journalists Goes Mainstream in Russia

Charles Glover of the Financial Times on the near-fatal beating of journalist Oleg Kashin.

Irina Petrovskaya, a prominent commentator, said: “We all know only too well how such loud and resonant cases like the murder or attempted murder of a journalist turn out. They are all taken under, quote unquote, personal control, they are labelled especially sensitive and they never go anywhere. We’ve been seeing this for years.” (…)

Partly due to the Khimki forest conflict, Mr Kashin had also came into conflict with a pro-Kremlin youth group, Molodaya Gvardia (Young Guard), a youth branch of the United Russia political party led by Vladimir Putin, prime minister. Recently, the organisation had posted an article on its website referring to Mr Kashin as a “journalist traitor”, along with a photo of Mr Kashin with the caption “will be punished” stamped across it. (…)

However, Alexei Navalny, a popular Russian blogger and acquaintance of Mr Kashin’s, said he believed the publication by Molodaya Gvardia may indeed have been the cause. “These types of articles give a very specific signal to the militants – beat,” said Mr Navalny. “They send a very specific signal to the police: this case does not need investigating.”

Coincidentally, and with particularly awful timing, an FT reporter has been sanctioned by some Duma member for being “biased” in her reporting on Russia. Better the Duma than Molodaya Gvardia, I guess. As for Vladimir Putin, he celebrated this terrible day by driving an F1 race car with some friends.